The heart of St. John Vianney veneration May 31.
The heart of St. John Vianney — patron saint of priests and the secondary patron of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, after the Apostle Paul — will be venerated at two local parishes at the end of May. Holy Family in St. Louis Park will host the relic May 30, and the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul will host it May 31.
The relic has been traveling across the United States since November in the care of the Knights of Columbus.
It will have visited more than 120 parishes and shrines in 46 states before it arrives in the Twin Cities. The heart is encased in a reliquary but visible to viewers.
According to the Knights of Columbus, “The tour has been dubbed ‘Heart of a Priest,’ which refers to the physical heart of John Vianney that has resisted decay for more than 150 years and to the good character that should belong to every priest.”
Born in 1786, St. John Mary Vianney was the parish priest in the tiny town of Ars in eastern France, in the aftermath of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. His reputation as a confessor drew people from around the world, and at the end of his life, he spent up to 18 hours a day hearing confessions and offering spiritual counsel. He died in 1859 at age 73. He was canonized in 1925 and made patron of parish priests. In 2009, the 150th anniversary of his death, Pope Benedict XVI declared a “Year of the Priest” and expanded St. John Vianney’s patronage to all priests.
Often called the “Curé d’Ars,” meaning “pastor of Ars,” he is the secondary patron of the archdiocese because of the historical connections between the local Church and France.
May 30 • Holy Family
5900 W. Lake St., St. Louis Park
7 p.m. Welcome of the relic and solemn vespers
7:30 p.m.–7 a.m. May 31 Public veneration with overnight prayer vigil for the sanctification of priests
May 31 • Cathedral of St. Paul
239 Selby Ave., St. Paul
3 p.m. Welcome of the relic and Divine Mercy Chaplet
3:30–9 p.m. Public veneration with confessions 3:30–5 p.m.
5:15 p.m. Mass with Archbishop Hebda
In the archdiocese, the saint’s name is attached to a parish — St. John Vianney in South St. Paul — and St. John Vianney College Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. In the Cathedral, the saint is depicted in a window above a confessional.
St. John Vianney’s heart will not be his only relic in the archdiocese. The Cathedral has one of his clerical collars as well as a bone fragment. And Good Shepherd in Golden Valley has a relic donated last year by Father Ralph Gorman, who had received it from the Sisters of St. Joseph in Crookston for his 1964 ordination. St. John Vianney College Seminary also has some small relics of its patron, its rector Father Michael Becker said.
Father Joseph Johnson, Holy Family’s pastor, said the relic’s visit will be a “wonderful thing” for the local Church.
“St. John Vianney said that the priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus … by which he means that the sacramental life of the Church which comes through the priesthood is the way God’s love touches the lives of the faithful,” he said. “For me, to see the heart of John Vianney is to see a heart that brought the love of Christ to the world in a superlative way.”
St. John Vianney’s heart is typically enshrined in Ars.